April 27, 2014

Fun STEM Flower Day!

Do your students participate in STEM or STEAM lessons?

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) or STEAM (STEM with art also) is a way of teaching and learning that integrates multiple content areas while challenging students to use inquiry, reasoning, collaboration, and investigation.

Come and join us on our fun STEM adventure!

We have been having fun this week learning about seeds and plants and we planted flowers and grass. This was a great way to end our unit! First, the children were offered the challenge:

When asked, "Are you up for the task?" They cheered and yelled, "Yes!"

Then they were presented with the problem and the rules for creating a new and unique flower.

Children were given time to examine the materials they would have to make a new flower.

Then they had to work together to make a plan.

They had to be good listeners and good problem solvers!

There were also several moments of pure excitement over "lightbulb" ideas!

Then they drew a picture of their planned design:

Then it was time to start building!

After their designs were complete, they had to answer some questions to make sure their new flower met the criteria.

Here are the final flowers!!

Last, they had to write about their flower in order to convince the people of Bloomin' City that their flower was the best! They were encouraged to be creative and to make a new flower unlike all the other flowers in the world. They were so creative in their responses, we were impressed! Here is one of them:
"Our flower is called a Moon Flower. It makes food from the moon. Also it blooms in the night. Our flower likes when the stars twinkle. It is a bright red flower."

As teachers, we were so impressed by the children's devotion to this project. They worked well together, were engaged, and very excited every step of the way. It was so much fun!!!

What are some STEM lessons you have done in your classroom that were successful?

April 25, 2014

Springing into Science Blog Hop with a FREEBIE and a GIVEAWAY!!

We are so excited to be part of this fabulous blog hop featuring a lot of science fun from some amazing teachers! There are so many wonderful ideas out there, please be sure to jump through them all so you don't miss anything, especially the freebies and giveaways that many are having!

We have been having the best time with our children learning about seeds and plants. They have been so excited every day and come in asking, "What are we doing today?" We love when we see them enjoy learning this much!! It makes it all worth it!

To start our unit, we read the book Grow, Flower, Grow! by Lisa Bruce.

This is an adorable story where the main character, Fran, tries to get her flower to grow by feeding it all of her favorite foods. Fran is very discouraged when the pizza, cheeseburgers, and strawberry ice cream doesn't help her plant to grow, so she throws it out the door. While outside, the plant gets sunlight, rain, and fresh air. One day Fran goes outside to play and waiting for her is a big beautiful flower!

This started our discussion on what a plant needs to grow. As a follow up children completed a journal responding to the journal prompt: If flowers could talk, what would it have said to Fran when she was trying to feed it all of her favorite foods? Here is one example:

"I can't eat the food that you eat. I drink rain and I need sun. 
I also need wind because wind gives me carbon dioxide."

First, we started by soaking Lima beans in water overnight to make them easy to take apart. The next day, the children were given the seeds to examine, open, take apart, etc. Some of the children looked at the seeds using magnifying glasses.

First, they had to peel off the seed coat, some children were nervous to do this because they were afraid to hurt the seed. (Aww!) With a little help and encouragement, everyone was able to remove the seed coat and examine it closely.

Next, they opened the seed into the two halves. We explained how the food storage tissue is the food used to feed the baby plant that is going to grow from the seed. They were encouraged to look very closely and see if they could find something inside the seed that looked like a baby plant. 

They removed the embryo from the seed and were able to take a closer look. Some of the children thought they could already see some teeny, tiny leaves on the embryo. Here are the three parts:

Children then labeled and colored the parts of a seed.

Children then learned about the life cycle of a plant. We read several non-fiction books and we also had a Scholastic magazine on the subject this month. 

We differentiated the life cycle papers to match the different writing levels of the children in our classes. 

We also learned about the different parts of a plant and used this assessment to identify and label each part independently. (This will be very important to know for tomorrow's big project!)

We integrated some technology to further explore the lifecycle of a plant and how plants make their own food through photosynthesis with Ms. Frizzle in "The Magic School Bus Gets Planted." The children LOVE these videos!

In preparation to plant our flower seeds, we completed our very own "How to Plant a Seed" book. The book takes the children through 6 steps of seed planting.

Now we are ready to plant our own flowers! Are they excited?
Yes! We think they are!

Our seeds are ready!

1st ~ add soil

2nd ~ pat the soil down tightly

3rd ~ poke a hole

4th ~ drop in the seeds

5th ~ cover the seeds with soil

6th ~ water the seed

Here are some of the books we read together this week and the children have been exploring in the Reading Center also! It is music to our ears when they are beginning to read to learn and understand and they come over to us excited about something new they found out...and THEY read it on their own!

Blooming Beginning Sounds!
This is a great center that hits on many skills all at one time. 
The children are to put the pots in ABC order. Then they are to find the flower with a word that starts with the correct beginning sound to match. 
After they have completed that, they are to find the word that matches the picture. 
You could be a lucky winner of this fun and engaging center. 
All you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter below! 
The winner will be picked at the end of this Springing into Science Blog Hop.

Sunflower Number Sense!
This is another fun center for the children involving flowers. Here, the children need to read
the number word on the flower pot and put them in order.
Next, they need to find the stem that has the correct set of dots.
Then, they match the numeral that is on the flower head. 

Have you been using the STEM or STEAM standards this year? We have!
Check back soon to see what our children are able to create with all of these goodies tomorrow! We are excited to see their creativity and how they problem solve to meet the challenge they're given...Stay tuned!

Enter Our Giveaway!
ONE lucky winner will win a copy of our "Blooming Beginning Sounds" literacy center featured earlier in this blog post. Simply enter below (in multiple ways) to be eligible to win! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Wait! There's more!
We love to share freebies and for a limited time (April 25-28), we are offering two
of the activities shown in this post for free!
Lifecycle of a Plant & Parts of a Plant

Click here to download.

Be sure to hop through the rest of the bloggers participating in the Springing into Science Blog Hop!

April 19, 2014

Roll and Color Fun! and a FREEBIE!!!

We had the best time on Thursday afternoon with our kinders! So much fun in fact one child proclaimed, "This is the best day ever!" Take a peek at our fun:

We found these cute rabbit eggs at Walgreen's and just knew we had to have them! So what do we do with them? A roll and color game of course! These are a favorite among our children. When they saw these adorable rabbit eggs, all you could hear is, "Aww, they are so cute!" 

So, we gave them their papers (Roll a Rabbit), they got their crayons. and they were ready to play!

These games have been so much fun all year long and have really grown with our children! They began with matching a set with a numeral and now they are working with the dice to practice addition of sets, numerals, and also counting on from a given numeral. These fun containers have definitely increased the level of enthusiasm even more!!

So cute!

The children had such a great time and they were all engaged, laughing, smiling, and helping each other out! What a wonderful thing to see in a classroom full of kindergartners!

So, the game playing was over, they put their papers in their mailboxes, put the rabbit eggs away and asked, "What's next?" Well, imagine their excitement when they saw this:

Roll a Chick!

So, we are now at "rock star" status with our children and we are officially the best teachers in the world and what do we do? We pull out these cuties and earn a few more cool points!

Roll Some Carrots!

Just shake, spill, add, and color!
We were really working on counting on to add more so the children touched and said the numeral and then counted on to add the second set on the dotted dice. 
This game was a great way to practice this skill!

What a great time we all had!
It was an excellent way to end our week before our mini-Spring Break.

You can get these fun and adorable roll and color activities HERE for free!

We are also having a sale! Everything in our TeachersPayTeachers store is 20% off. 

Just a little heads up that we're having a giveaway in the next few weeks.
Keep your eyes peeled and share us with any teachers who love freebies!

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